Half-Heartedly  

Chapter 3

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    I slouched back in my seat as Mrs. Tanlle, our History professor, walked out of the classroom. Finally! Saved by the bell. I thought this lecture was never going to end. Because of my being late for almost a-third of the period, Mrs. Tanlle “gave extra care on my learning progress.” All of a sudden, the whole class seemed to have vanished, leaving only a helpless me struggling with the obese woman. History is my least favourite subject, and needless to say, it is my worst. I almost always get flunked for no particular reason but “lack of knowledge in the world of the past,” which is the Tanlle-ian saying for “stupidity in History.” Mrs. Tanlle and I just don’t get along very well.

    “Nice job, James.” Albert Hunter, one of my gym mates, slapped me on the back—hard. He is a large, muscular man who has a big booming voice and lack of control of his own strength.

    “Thanks.” I smiled, trying not to flinch. “But I’ve got a feeling I’ll get flunked again this semester.”

    “Well, honestly, it won’t make the school headlines.” We both laughed as two more guys I always hang out with came to join us.

    “But really, Jamey, why were you so late today?” Paul O’Lee, another gym mate who was built but short, sat on my desk and looked curiously down at me. The other boys leaned in to listen.

    Sweat formed at the back of my scalp. “Well, I had to meet someone.” I faltered. “It took longer than I thought.”

    Daichi Yamamoto, a slender Japanese boy, nudged me in the ribs and teased: “Who is this ‘someone’ and why did it take longer than you thought?” The other boys chuckled excitedly.

    “Well…” At the corner of my eye, I caught sight of Freeman sitting motionlessly in his seat, eyeing us through the shadow that always seems to be casted on him. Looking at those big, orange eyes, my stomach churned.

    “It’s alright if you don’t tell us.” Albert said, slapping me on the back—hard—again.

    “Yeah, ‘cause we can all guess who.” Paul laughed excitedly.

    “Then why did you ask in the first place?” I laughed awkwardly, knowing who they were talking about. If I were secretly meeting with someone other than these boys, the only person that would come in their minds is my beautiful girlfriend, Leona Kya.

    “James?” A gentle, feminine voice said from the doorway. “Was everything alright?”

    As the boys purposefully wandered off, I stood up and walked over to my beloved girlfriend. She is the most beautiful girl I have ever met, with her long, wavy hair as golden as the sun, and her wide, glimmering eyes as green as the first sprout of Spring. She has the slim body of a super model, and her taste of fashion is uncontroversial. She always wears the most stylish clothing, most of which no one has ever seen anyone wear before. In addition to all this, she is mature and caring, which are what I love about her most.

    “Why don’t we find a quieter place to talk?” I said as I led her out the classroom. She hooked her arm around mine and gracefully walked beside me, her gorgeous purple skirt fluttering around her long, pale legs.

    As soon as we walked out of the History building, Leona stepped in front of me and asked, “I heard that you were late today. Was everything alright?”

    I smiled slightly and brushed her silky hair, soothing her. “It was nothing, Leona. I wandered around too long, that’s all.” Even though I love her so much, I still find it easy to deceive her.

    Relieved, Leona gently slapped me on the cheek. “Why do you always make me worry about you, you naughty little worm.” I love it when she pretends to be angry at me.

    “Well, we don’t want you to be late for the next class, so let’s go.” She held my hand in hers and dragged me to my next class. After giving me a shy peck on the cheek, she walked off towards her own class.

    “Love, love, love.” Daichi sang beside me after Leona disappeared. “Look what I drew.” He handed me a small sketchbook that he brings with him wherever he goes. In it was a delicate drawing of me and Leona sitting on a bench looking at each other.

    “You are so talented, Daichi.” I praised, glancing at the picture in awe. “Can I have a copy of this? Leona would love it!”

    “Sure, but that would cost you 20 bucks.” Daichi laughed and nudged me in the stomach. “JKs.”

    As the bell rang, everyone scattered throughout the room, looking for their favourite seats. Some were still chatting loudly and others preparing for the upcoming lesson. Waiting for the professor to arrive, I let my eyes casually wander around the classroom, until I found myself staring at a pair of big, orange eyes in the dark corner. A chill went down my spine. Freeman was staring at me like a zombie.

    “What’s up, Jamey?” Paul, who likes to sit behind me, snapped his fingers in front of my face.

    “Nothing.” I lied, putting on my smile again. When Paul turned to talk with someone beside him, I glanced back at where Freeman was sitting. His gaze had turned to Daichi’s sketchbook. He was looking at it as if it were an interesting species of plant.

    “Good morning class.” Mr. Kim, our English professor, walked slowly into the classroom. Though Mr. Kim doesn’t mind us doing irrelevant things in his class, he just cannot stand students sleeping while he is teaching. Whoever dozes off in front of him will receive a big “F” on their final report card. It’s pretty ironic though, because Mr. Kim is the most sleep-triggering professor in the whole faculty.

Oh, perfect, I thought. Now I would have to find something interesting to do. I took a quick glance at everyone else. Paul was reading a hidden comic book and trying his best not to laugh out loud. Albert was twirling his pen between his fingers. He wouldn’t last long, I mentally grieved for him. A shy girl named Tiara Kert was playing an invisible piano on her desk. Rachel Deer was reviewing her hip-hop dance moves, twirling her body slightly in her seat. Daichi was busy drawing in his sketchbook again. I wonder what he’s drawing this time, I thought.

    As the humming sound of Mr. Kim giving his lecture continued, my eyelids involuntarily started to drop. As my eyesight blurred, a pair of orange eyes seemed to literally dig into my view. I widened my eyes in shock, and found Freeman staring at me once again. Only this time, he had a weird smile on his face, which gave me the creeps. As I was wondering what in the world he had in mind, a small object bumped into my foot. I looked down and saw that a toy truck had stopped under my desk. On the truck was a folded piece of paper and a novel.

    I picked up the truck and its contents, hiding it all from Mr. Kim’s view. I unfolded the piece of paper, and revealed a short note in messy handwriting.

To Jamesy from his guardian Angel hahaha

    I glanced back to where Freeman was, and saw him wink at me, wearing his goofy smile. I smiled awkwardly back, and nodded in thanks.

    The novel was pretty good, and I had to admit, I wouldn’t have survived that English lesson without Freeman’s help. Perhaps he was making up for getting me into trouble in the previous class. Perhaps he was just being nice to his friend. I could never understand why that guy did what he did.

    Yet, sometimes understanding someone can be frightening.

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第三章

  叮叮叮!

  當我們的歷史教授坍尼爾走出教室後,我癱在自己座位上。終於得救了!感覺那堂課不會結束一樣。因為我遲到錯過快三分之一節的課,坍尼爾教授「特別關心我的學習進度。」突然之間,彷彿全班學生都消失了一般,教室只剩我面對那肥大的女教授。歷史是我最不喜歡的科目,也不用多說,是我最爛的。我幾乎每次考試都不及格,而原因是「缺乏對於過去世界的認識」,也就是坍尼爾語言裡用來形容「歷史白痴」的說法。坍尼爾和我就是合不太來。

  「做得好吔,詹姆斯。」我其中一個健身伙伴亞伯特‧亨頓用力地往我背上拍了一掌。他是個高大強壯的男生,有著隆隆作響的聲音,卻沒有控制自己力氣的能力。

  「謝啦。」我微笑著說,努力壓制身體因為疼痛而抽搐。「可是我有種這個學期又會被當掉的感覺。」

  「老實說,就算這樣,也不會是什麼大新聞了啦。」我們兩個大笑時,另外兩個男生也跑過來加入我們。

  「可是,阿詹,你到底為什麼遲到呀?」我另外一個較矮小但健壯的健身伙伴保羅‧歐里好奇地看著我。另外兩個男生也靠近來聽。

  我的後腦杓開始緊張地流汗。「就是,我去見一個人呀。」我結結巴巴的說。「搞得比我預期的久。」

  細瘦的日本男生山本大智用手軸推了我的肋骨,嘲笑著說,「你去見了誰啦?還有,為什麼會搞那麼久咧?」其他男生興奮的笑了起來。

  「哦…」在我眼眶的角落,我看見福利曼一動不動地坐在他的座位上,在永遠壟罩著他的影子底下注視著我們。看著他大大的橘色眼睛,我的肚子翻了一圈。

  「不想告訴我們沒關係啦。」亞伯特說,又一手用力拍了我一下。

  「對呀,因為我們都猜得到是誰。」保羅大笑了一聲。

  「那幹嘛問嘛?」我尷尬的笑著,心裡知道他們想的是誰。如果我偷偷摸摸和不是這三個男生的人見面,那他們會想到的人只有我美麗的女朋友雷恩娜‧凱亞。

  「詹姆斯?」一個溫柔、充滿女人味的聲音從門口傳來。「你還好吧?」

  我那三個好朋友故意走掉之後,我站了起來走到我女朋友那裡。她是我看過最漂亮的女生,有著跟陽光一樣金黃的波浪捲長髮,還有和春天第一個芽一般嫩綠的閃亮大眼睛。擁有模特爾身材的她的時尚眼光是沒有人能夠挑剔的。她每次都穿著最時髦的服飾,很多是之前都沒有人穿過的設計。除此之外,她成熟又有愛心的個性是我最愛的。

  「我們找個安靜一點的地方聊吧。」我帶她到教室外面。她將手勾住我的手,優雅的走在我身邊,華麗的紫色裙子在她細白的腿邊翩翩飛舞。

  我們一走出歷史系樓,雷恩娜就站到我面前說,「我聽說你今天遲到了,沒事吧?」

  我輕輕的笑了一下,用手梳了梳她的長髮,安撫著她。「沒事啦,雷恩娜。我只是散步散太久了而已啦。」雖然我很愛她,欺騙她卻很容易。

  鬆了一口氣後,雷恩娜輕輕打了我一巴掌。「你這小子為什麼每次都弄一些事情來嚇我?」我最喜歡她假裝生我的氣。

  「好了啦。下一堂課不能遲到了。我們走吧。」她握住我的手把我拉到下一節課的教室。害羞地親了一下我的臉頰後,她就往自己的教室走了。

  「愛呀愛。」大智在雷恩娜走了之後在我身旁唱著。「看我畫了什麼。」他遞給我他隨身攜帶的小畫本。畫本裡有一張我和雷恩娜坐在長凳上看著彼此的小插畫。

  「你好強喔,大智。」我稱讚著,欽佩地看著那張畫。「可以幫我影印一張嗎?雷恩娜會很喜歡!」

  「可以呀,一張二十塊。」大智笑了一笑又戳了我的肋骨一下。「開玩笑啦。」

  當鐘聲響時,大家在教室裡紛紛散開尋找自己最喜歡的座位。有些學生仍然大聲地聊著天,而有些在為上課作準備。等待著教授,我讓我的視線在教室裡飄移,最後落在角落一雙橘色的大眼睛上。我突然全身發冷,因為福利曼像殭屍一樣盯著我看。

  「幹嘛啦,阿詹?」坐在我後面的保羅在我眼前彈了彈手指。

  「沒有。」我騙他說,又擺出微笑。當保羅轉身和旁邊的人說話時,我回頭看福利曼。他的眼睛已經轉到大智的畫本上,注視著畫本好像在研究一棵奇怪的植物一樣。

  「早安,大家。」我們的英文教授奇姆慢慢地走進教室。他雖然不在乎學生在課堂上做自己的事,但他就是不能接受學生在他敎課時打瞌睡。誰不小心睡著了就會在學期末被當掉。其實這有一點諷刺,因為奇姆教授大概是全部教授裡最會讓人想睡的一個。

  唉呀,慘了。我心裡想著,該找個事情做了。我快速的觀察一下別人在做什麼。保羅正讀著一本藏著的漫畫,努力不讓自己笑得太大聲。亞伯特正玩著一支筆。他應該撐不久。我在心裡為他哀悼。一個叫特拉‧柯特的害羞女生正在桌上彈著隱形的鋼琴。瑞吉兒‧帝爾在坐位裡扭動著身體,複習著街舞舞步。大智又在畫本裡畫畫。他這次不知道在畫什麼。我想著。

  奇姆教授嗡嗡的上課聲持續著,而我的眼皮也不自主的開始閉合。當我的視線已經模糊時,一雙橘色的眼睛好像鑽進我的視線裡一樣。我驚訝地睜開眼睛,發現福利曼又在注視著我。只是這次他臉上掛著奇怪的微笑,讓我渾身不舒服。當我正疑惑著他到底在想什麼時,有個小物體碰撞了我的腳。我往下看見一個玩具卡車停在我的桌子下。卡車上是一張摺起來的紙和一本小說。

  我撿起卡車,藏好不給奇姆教授看見。打開那張紙,我讀著凌亂的手寫。

守護天使給小詹詹哈哈哈

  我回頭看了福利曼,看見他跟我眨眼,臉上帶著他那畸形的傻笑。我尷尬的笑了回去,點了點頭跟他道謝。

  那本小說還不錯看,而且我也承認,如果沒有福利曼的幫忙我根本撐不過那堂英文課。可能他是在為上一堂課作補償。可能他只是以好朋友的身分對我好。我一直都沒辦法了解那個人做事背後的原因。

  但是,有時候,真正了解一個人會是件很恐怖的事。

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 -羅寗 Michelle Ning Lo

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